tv Anderson Cooper Special Report CNN August 3, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT
thank you very much. >> i would shake your hand, but i have a toad in it. >> that's fine. thank you. that's all for us tonight. good night. good evening. we begin with breaking news. the signs keep growing that the country is on high alert here and around the world against the possibility of al qaeda attacks. the threat, credible and serious. three sources telling cnn that al qaeda in the arabian peninsula was in the final stages planning for an unspecified operation. the response so far, 21 embassies scheduled to close on sunday. the state department issuing a global alert for the month of august, to americans traveling abroad. airlines say they're monitoring developments. all of this coming after a message surfaced online, the al qaeda chief calling for attacks on american interests. senior state department officials are briefing lawmakers telling them they're very
concerned about an increase in communications. president obama has been briefed and according to an official, has directed his national security team to take all appropriate steps to protect the american people. joining us now, paul crookshank and fran townsend, dana bash. jill, what is the latest you're hearing from the state department? 21 posts closed in 17 countries. how credible a threat is this? >> they believe it definitely is credible. they say they're taking it very seriously. in fact, the number of countries where those embassies and consulates are being temporarily shut down could increase, and the length of time which they are shut down could increase, as well. what they're saying is, in light of benghazi, and i think you're going to hear the word benghazi quite a bit, they out of an abundance of caution, are taking
these steps. it refers to routine things that happen at the embassy, but they do say for americans that if there is an emergency, they can get in touch with the embassy. that is not a problem. but they're urging americans, if they're traveling to that region, to register for this program that they have called s.t.e.p. you can get texts and e-mail messages realtime about the threat that's out there and anything happening, country specific. >> jill, britain is closing its embassy in yemen, sources telling you there may be more u.s. closings? >> this could be. this depends on the information coming in. >> fran, you don't typically see so many embassies closing their doors like this. >> that's right. imagine in 21 countries, you've not seen one of those governments be critical or disagree with the u.s. move. i talked to two sources who said
that's because the americans have shared with them some intelligence that they too believe it is specific and credible, although not specific to location. foreign governments are very supportive of the steps the u.s. has decided to take. >> video from al qaeda surfaced calling for attacks on america. do you see any link between this new video and worldwide alert? >> it brings up the possibility that al qaeda's leader had some sort of formal edge of whatever is in the works here. it definitely does bring up that possibility. we've seen in other plots him put out videos before hand, anderson. >> dana, what are you hearing on capitol hill? how seriously is it being taken there? >> very seriously. republican sources tell me that the administration is doing absolutely the right thing in taking such extraordinary steps to protect americans. this threat does appear to be significant. another signal as to how
concerned they are is a source who was in the room told me that the vice president used a previously scheduled meeting to inform the congressional leadership about the threat. you heard jill talk about benghazi. considering the political backlash against the white house for not taking threats seriously before that deadly attack last year, i asked sources, especially republican sources, they were ready to say this is a cya. the answer i got from democrats and republicans is absolutely not. they're not overdoing it at all. this is very real and necessary. >> fran, how common is it to share intelligence with countries -- in some of these countries? >> it's very common, a. b, when you look at al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, it's the saudi government and saudi service that has the best access. they've helped us disrupt numerous plots in the past. you can't imagine operating effectively without share thing sort of information.
let's remember, we also have heard reports that zawahri was named the head of the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. you've got the naming of the chief from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, you've got the video paul was just speaking about, and the intelligence. all this comes together in the last couple of weeks that leads them to take this extraordinary step of closing 21 embassies. >> paul, what do you make of the selection of the 21 consulates and embassies? most are in the middle east, but there are closures as far away as bangladesh. >> that's right. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula doesn't have much of a presence in bangladesh. so different al qaeda may be coordinating here. >> for americans around the world traveling, you talked about ways to get in touch with
embassies. anything else americans should do? >> they're saying to be very, very cautious about your surroundings. i think you would have to say that getting these updates and also registering your trip with the state department is another thing that you can do. the website is quite good. it's got a lot of links. the most important is to get that time sensitive information. >> i'll leave it there. thank you very much. let us know what you think. coming up next, we have racket results. clinic operators billing taxpayers a bundle. tonight, the man in charge of the operation faces our questions, live. later, you'll hear from the woman that knew ariel castro was a sadistic monster long before he held three young women captive.
questionable billing questions. billing medi-call for treatment patients didn't need. in one case, the patient was dead. it's now headline news across california. "the san francisco chronicle," "the sacramento bee" all picking up on it. officials literally ran from our cameras. first, the reporting that has a lot of people talking. drew griffin tonight, keeping them honest. >> reporter: george aluno shouldn't even be in california's drug rehab business. he's been banned from billing medicaid since 2002. but it hasn't stopped him from billing the state of california. tim agendu is accused of fraudulent practices at his rehab clinic, but it hasn't stopped him from billing the
state of california, either. >> and who are you? >> i'm drew griffin with cnn. your former employees say you're billing for services you're not providing. then there's this man, alexander ferdnand. it hasn't stopped him from coming to california, setting up a drug rehab clinic, and billing taxpayers. even though felons are barred from running drug medi-cal systems. how can a guy like you be operating a drug rehab program here in california? you were convicted in texas -- >> i was convicted but it's not what it seems. >> reporter: in the last two fiscal years, taxpayers spent nearly $186 million, supposedly treating drug and alcohol patients in california.
our investigation found half of that money, or about $94 million, as gone to clinics that have shown questionable billing practices or signs of fraud. former drug medi-cal supervisor says she complained to the state for years about all the obvious fraud. we found billing records for people in jail, one person dead, people who said they didn't need this kind of treatment. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: clinics closed on a certain day, billing for that certain day. >> you hi. >> reporter: none of this surprises you? >> not at all. we found all of those things. >> reporter: for more than a month, cnn has been asking for an explanation from the state of california, and for more than a month, we've gotten nowhere. can i just ask you from you, why?
>> that wasn't my decision. >> reporter: state health officials in one sacramento building after another refused to be questioned, including toby douglas, who oversees drug medi-cal. will you provide a response as to why this widespread fraud is allowed to continue? finally, after weeks of calling the state's secretary of health and human services, diana duley, and getting no for an answer, we decided to ask for a response in person. secretary -- >> yes. >> reporter: drew griffin with cnn. we've been trying to reach you and talk to you about the widespread fraud that's in the medi-cal drug rehab business but we've told neither you or anybody the state of california will talk to us. the secretary at first refused to speak. secretary, do you know alex ferdnand, a convicted felon, who
runs one of these clinics and has been billing the state of california for several years, despite the fact that there have been complaint registered with the department about him? he's convicted of a major insurance fraud in the state of texas, but for somehow was able to get certified and has been billing him. is there anyone in the state of california concerned about this fraud? then finally answered a question. >> the state of california takes fraud very seriously and there are many investigations that are under way. the allegations, all allegations are given full and fair consideration and you've caught me running because i am late for a meeting that i'm chairing. >> reporter: i wonder if you would do one thing and ask toby douglas to sit down and talk to us. >> if you want to give us a little bit of time -- >> reporter: we've been giving you about a month. >> we have a budget we are just completing and we have many priorities.
information and answers have been provided. we have a very -- >> reporter: i understand. >> we have a very extensive fraud and investigation units that is one of the best in the countries. that's all i have to say. >> reporter: can you concerned that there is massive fraud? that's what we're finding out. and number two, as secretary of health, could you have toby douglas sit down and talk to us about our specific questions? but that is hardly the end of the story. >> would you get security? >> reporter: our exchange with california's secretary of health and human services may in fact have been the trigger for a major statewide crackdown. one month later, nearly to the day, the state sent out this news release. 16 drug rehab centers are under investigation and temporarily suspended. and just this week, california announced that figure has now
jumped to 108 rehab centers. >> drew joins me now, with toby douglas, director of the california department of health care services. appreciate you being with us. i want to start with this. in an editorial today, "it's not enough to stop payments to problem clinics as the state appears to be doing now. who at state government or at the county level was responsible for years of lax oversight?" can you answer that question? who was responsible for years of lax oversight? >> anderson, first, thank you for having me on tonight. i can't talk about the past. what i can -- >> why not? >> what i want to tell you is that this past year, the governor and the legislature transferred authority of this program to the department of health care services. once we received authority, and i as the director was accountable, we started a top-to-bottom review of this program. we initiated audits, put field investigators on the ground.
what we found so far is appalling. we have found fraud and we have -- >> but you didn't just get born last year. this thing, for the last two years, according to our reporting, you paid $94 million to clinics that have shown signs of questionable billing or fraud. that's half of all the public funding for this program. you say you've been investigating this for a long time. you've been throwing money away all this time. more than $500 million has been spent six years. can you not answer the question, who was responsible for years of lax oversight? you must have studied this. >> again, anderson, the legislature and the governor, governor brown moved the authority of this program directly accountable to me. >> you have no idea what happened in the past, you have no idea who is responsible? >> what my focus is on now, anderson, is making sure i'm rooting out all the fraud, that we have all our investigators, we are putting all resources -- >> how many clinics have you
suspended before these latest, how many in that whole year of investigation? >> what i can tell you is that we suspended 38 clinics of which are 108 different locations. >> you just done that. you said you've been investigating this for a long time. you don't have to wait until -- i assume the investigations are not over. but we -- for a year you've been investigating, have you not shut down any in that year? >> i can't give you the numbers right now -- >> so you can't name one clinic that's been shut down in the entire year you were allegedly investigating? >> no, these are open investigations, anderson. what our job is to work with the department of justice and to focus on rooting out the fraud -- >> have you rooted out any fraud in the year-long -- you say you -- >> we have suspended 38 -- >> this week, i get it, in the
wake of our reporting you've announced this. but in that year of investigating, can you name one person, one of the felons who are running one of these clinics that drew has talked to, can you name one person, one clinic you have shut down or stopped paying? >> again, anderson, our focus is on rooting out this fraud and -- >> and i'm asking you -- clearly, you can't. drew, do you have a question? >> i do. mr. douglas, you know as well as i do that the audits and investigations branch of your very department, department of health care services, has been getting these fraud allegations for five years, not for the past one year, but for five years. there were meetings pointing out this fraud. we've heard from the l.a. county health director, dr. jonathan fielding, who said he's been very frustrated in the past over the lax standards of state certification, and the time it has taken the time to investigate and take action from these bad actors. now, you've been in senior
leadership of the department of health care services since 2005. what i think anderson is asking, what the whole state of california and certainly the federal taxpayers want to know is, there's been evidence of this fraud right under your nose for years and only now it seems, even if you say in the past year we began investigating, only now is the state going to do something about it. the question is why and who is responsible for overlooking all this fraud? >> again, the focus now -- now this program is completely under the control of the department of health care services. i'm accountable for rooting out this fraud and that's what i'm focused on is putting investigators out there, recertifying all providers, 1,000 providers and we'll work on this until we've rooted out all fraud. >> you've been the chief deputy director since 2009, i mean, why would the public have any faith that you are now going to be
able to tackle a problem which hasn't been tackled since at least what, 2008? >> again, this program, anderson, was in another department. it has been now the legislature -- >> the departments that under the department of health care services. >> no, it was a separate department that did not report to the department of health care services. >> you have no idea what occurred in the last six years? you have not a clue in the world -- >> again, anderson, my focus is on -- >> i've been at cnn ten years, i can tell you what happened at cnn ten years before that. i can name names of people who worked here. you're staying now we just joined these two companies together. time warner and aol joined companies together. we still have to work every day. your boss, when drew chases her down, her excuse was, we've been working on a budget, so we're very busy. you're saying you've been
investigating this all along, but you can't name anybody that's been named by your investigation until just now. all of a sudden you've come up with all these names. you don't get that that looks really shady? >> again, we have been doing -- since we have taken this, we've been assessing this program top to bottom. we will focus continuously working to root out fraud within this program. >> anderson, i just want to remind you, what we're hearing from the staff, this fraud has been reported to health care services. they have an audits and investigation staff supposedly that was having meetings for years, and the problems were being overlooked. that's what our report says. and that has been verified now by the l.a. county health director, who says he's been very frustrated with the state not taking action on this. so now we have the same people
who have basically been in charge and in oversight capacity, telling us that they're going to cheap it up. i hope that is the case. i hope that is very much the case, mr. douglas. >> well, again, drew, we have taken -- as we have reported, 38 clinics have been suspended and 108 different locations. we're recertifying 1,000 of our providers. we will continue to root out the fraud within this program until it gets to the same integrity of all the programs we administer. >> i feel bad that -- i appreciate you being on tonight, and i know your boss didn't want to talk and i appreciate you being on. but you have one talking point, and you continue to say it. in fact, you answer every time by saying again, which verifies you've giving the same answer over and over again. what your boss said and you've said, you couldn't talk before in the many requests that drew has made to talk to you, you couldn't talk before because of an ongoing investigation.
the fact that you're talking now, does that mean the investigation is over? >> no, these investigations continue -- will continue on and we will work with the department of justice until we take all these providers -- >> so why is it okay to talk now, even though the investigation is still going on, but over the last many weeks that drew has tried to get an interview, you wouldn't talk because of an ongoing investigation? now you can talk even though there's an ongoing investigation? >> there is an ongoing investigation. what i want to make sure that everyone knows is that i'm here, i'm accountable and i am going to fix this program. >> all right. we'll continue to follow it, mr. douglas. drew, anything else? >> no. i'll look forward to the follow ups, mr. douglas, and hopefully we can see where the investigations bear fruit and find out if the felons running the clinics will be weeded out and the people falsely bill willing be weeded out, as well. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> there you go.
talk to me on twitter on this. quick reminder, you can make a difference. if you have a tip for drew, go to cnn.com/investigate. just ahead, ariel castro's former sister in law has a message for him tonight. and will george zimmerman soon face federal civil rights charges for the death of trayvon martin? a look at how difficult that case may be to prove. and hear what martin's parents were reportedly doing this weekend.
>> >> welcome back. michelle knight was in the courtroom yesterday in the ariel castro hearing. today, she did something that's pretty remarkable. she made a surprise visit to seymour avenue and thanked the neighbor who gave shelter to amanda berry after the escape. what ariel castro said at his hearing was so shocking, so off the charts twisted, it's hard to wrap your mind around it. 24 hours later it's still a lot to unpack. he said he didn't rape them, he said the sex was consensual and there was a lot of harmony in
>> it's unbelievable. his common law wife died last wear. i talked to her sister back in may after castro's arrest and she joins us again. aleta, when you heard what ariel castro said about your sister yesterday, what did you think? >> i was infuriated. all those lies he's saying in that courtroom, it hurt. he beat my sister, he stomped on her head, he kicked her in the stomach. repeatedly. all the time in front of her children. he beat my nephew, anthony, all the time. and he's saying he never did that? look at the record. >> and he seems to be -- as he was doing a lot yesterday, justifying his behavior saying, you know, that it was your sister's fault. i want to play part of the hearing yesterday when the judge
addressed ariel castro's abusive behavior. >> you said that your wife would irritate you, she wouldn't stop talking and you would respond. my understanding is that she suffered a broken nose twice, broken teeth and was otherwise abused. but they were never followed through as a conviction and that's unfortunate. >> a lot of people who watched him speak yesterday, and the experts we talked to said this guy is a psychopath, that he doesn't have emotions like everybody else. he is a true, true psychopath. did you always feel that way about him? did you always feel he was a monster? >> in the very beginning, very beginning, the beginning of her relationship, he didn't seem that way. >> you blame him for your sister's death? >> yes, he put her six feet under.
>> what went through your mind yesterday when you heard the judge tell him he would spend the rest of his life in jail? >> i was happy. i was excited. i was thrilled. he's going to see what hell is like now. >> i was really stunned in the testimony yesterday, he clearly seems to be watching media coverage. he was talking about the three women who survived the ordeal in his house, who survived the abuse for years, talking about recent appearances they had made in the media. if he happens to be seeing this, is there anything you would want to say to him? >> ariel, you need to rot in jail. i'm glad you're rotting in jail. you're going to see what hell is like. if words can't explain what i'm feeling right now, and i really want to tell him.
words can't even say. >> aleta, i'm glad there's justice in all this, some justice. and i appreciate you being on tonight. thank you. >> thank you. trayvon martin's parents reportedly meeting with justice department prosecutors. the question is, will there be civil rights charges and what does his acquittal mean for that? and the fda says where that tainted salad that made people sick came from and where it ended up.
killing of trayvon martin had nothing to do with race, but some civil rights leaders strongly disagree. going forward with the civil rights case will be a challenge but not unprecedented. randi kaye reports. >> reporter: attorney general eric holder made it clear for any federal charges against george zimmerman, the bar is high. >> for a federal hate crime we have to prove the highest standard. something that was reckless, negligent and we have to show there was specific intent to do the crime with the requisite state of mind. >> reporter: neither prosecutors or the defense made race the central issue in the state's case against zimmerman. but civil rights leaders call the killing of trayvon martin a hate crime. they say zimmerman racially profiled martin. something zimmerman and his family denied. >> you look at a jury without a black or a man on it, it was not a jury of trayvon's peers.
the department of justice must intervene and take this case to another level. >> we the jury find george zimmerman not guilty. >> reporter: in response to the verdict and calls for action, the justice department released this statement, reading in part, that the department of justice will continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. federal prosecutors will then determine if trayvon martin's civil rights were violated and if federal prosecution of george zimmerman is appropriate. if zimmerman is charged with violating trayvon martin's civil rights, it wouldn't be the first time a failed criminal case gave way to a federal civil rights case. remember rodney king? after the four los angeles police officers caught beating him on camera were acquitted, the case moved to federal court, where two of the four officers were found guilty of violating king's civil rights. they were each sent tensed to 30 months in prison. it was a similar story in new orleans after a handful of officers were cleared of a
shooting. in the aftermath of katrina in 2005, the officers opened fire on a family, killing a 17-year-old. when local prosecutors couldn't deliver a conviction, the civil rights division of the u.s. department of justice and fbi began an investigation. in 2011, a jury in new orleans federal court convicted five police officers on charges related to covering up the investigation and deprivation of civil rights. still, regardless of the outcome of those two cases, george zimmerman's attorney continues to insist this case was never about race. >> my fear is that now that they've connected that conversation to his conviction, that his acquittal is going to be seen as a negative for civil rights. absolutely untrue. >> reporter: maybe so. but that it seems is now for the united states department of justice to decide. randi kaye, cnn, atlanta.
>> joining me now, danny cevallos and sunny hostin. danny, how difficult will this be to prove? >> to go back to what you just said, anderson. you said that the original case involved race. race was no element of the original case. the original case avoided race and that's why the -- any civil rights case or any doj case is going to be exceedingly difficult. why? because at the criminal trial, the state failed to prove any evil intent. so the department of justice would now have to prove not only that evil intent, but further
that it was motivated by a racial animus. and so the federal government would have the additional burden of proving that intent, plus the evil motive and on top of that, they would have to prove connection to interstate commerce or something else that gives it that federal nexus. that's why it's a very high burden. the federal government does not like to bring cases and lose them, and that's why most commentators that it's not likely they're going to bring this case. >> sunny, do you agree with that? the state's attorney said race was not a factor. >> i don't agree with that. i think danny is way off base, anderson. the bottom line here is that the state case has no bearing, no bearing whatsoever on a federal case. the federal investigation has been ongoing. it started in march 2012. there has been no determination, and we know that the investigation is continuing.
so to suggest that whatever happened in state court has some sort of bearing on the federal investigation or any federal crime is just really way off base. >> sunny, would a federal investigation by the fbi, would that turn up different evidence than the state investigation did? >> absolutely. we're talking about the federal bureau of investigation and all the resources that the federal government has to bear. they've been meeting with witnesses over again and they may have found new witnesses, other information about perhaps george zimmerman, whatever racial animus he may have against african-americans and others. this investigation again, because it's ongoing, we don't know what they have uncovered and where it's going. i think there's a lot to be said by the fact that the government did meet with trayvon martin's family because prosecutors do keep victim's families in the loop. sometimes they get additional information from the family. and they do go over potential charges.
so i think when we know now that they are meeting with this family, that says something. >> danny, we know that before the trial, the state trial, the fbi looked into this, found no evidence that zimmerman was a racist. doesn't that tell you something? >> it tells me -- that's the whole point. it tells me -- what evidence do you think that the federal government is reviewing, any new evidence? maybe, but they're reviewing the evidence from the trial court. and they have to review additionally the racially motivated evidence. so they have to prove that racial motive, and there was none of that. of course state court decisions are not binding on the federal government. sunny, i challenge you to tell me where the evidence was at the state court level that they're going to be able to jump on and use for that racial animus. where is it? >> we'll end it there.
do you have a sense, sunny, a timeline, how long they might come before they make a decision? >> you know, every federal investigation is different. i've led federal investigations, and there is no science to it. there's no definitive timeline. it has been going on for a year. you do have the culmination of the state trial. but i suspect that it may be ongoing for a little while longer. >> appreciate it. just ahead. they spent 69 terrifying days trapped a half mile underground. details on a new report of the chilean miners coming up.
from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just a click away with our free mobile app. get you caught up on some of the stories we're following. susan hendricks has a "360" bull table. the sainted salad mix came from taylor farms in new mexico. the fda says it doesn't believe the bagged salad was sold in any grocery stores.
the ceo said the company has no evidence of the bacteria in their products and have distributed 48 million servings of salads. at the whitey bulger trial, the 83-year-old former mob boss told the judge he would not be taking the stand and called the trial a sham. that didn't sit well with the widow of one of his alleged victims who called him a coward in court. after order was restored, the defense rested. closing arguments begin on monday. an army official says 55 soldiers have been suspended from their duties as sexual assault counselors and drill instructors for violations. in may, secretary of state chuck hagel -- or defense rather, ordered all military branchs to rescreen service members who hold sensitive jobs.
a mine collapse trapped 33 men for 63 days. the investigation has been closed and all 33 miners were rescued. they plan to appeal the prosecutor's decision. anderson, back to you. >> susan, thanks. zombies on the "ridicu-list," next. ♪ [ female announcer ] when your swapportunity comes, take it. ♪ what? what? what? [ female announcer ] yoplait. it is so good.
time now for the "ridicu-list." tonight, we have your everyday story of zombies on the loose in a 5-k race. it's called zombie run. in the this run, participants have balloons attached to their waist, life balloons that the zombies try to pop along the way, signifying the runners are dead, even though they still keep running. >> the runners are running to save their life to have an after party.
>> what is a zombie apocalypse without an after party. seems things got out of hand in denver. a woman says she got pummelled by a runner. >> it was not fun at all. i had a large guy tackle me over a bolder, and just left me there, scrapes, bruises. i wasn't planning on bleeding my own blood that day. >> paramedics said another zombie had her nose broken after being punched in the face. we have a picture, but we don't know if sit the actual zombie puncher. and we're not in the business of banana slander on this program. here is an artist rendering of a guy in a banana suit punching a zombie in the face. the artist happened to be our very own tom foreman. thank you, tom. the founders of these zombie runs say their goal is for no one to get hurt.
but runners can be scary. >> sometimes there are humans too aggressive, and sometimes zombies are too aggressive. >> things can get intense as anyone who has seen "the walking dead" is well aware. >> that was a good episode. that was the one where the little zombie girl got shot at the end. sometimes i find myself rooting for the zombies in the end. some of the human characters, they're so annoying, they keep talking and talking. someone on twitter said it's too much character development and not enough character devourment. and i agree with that. that's me as a zombie. it's a something you can do on a website called dead yourself. i'm off track. the point is, the zombie run is